Higher education’s accreditation system is holding it back, but escape hatches could mitigate some of the damage.
- Higher education accreditation does not work because it asks accreditors to be consultants and regulators at the same time.
- The two biggest problems with accreditation are that it does not provide adequate quality assurance, and it mandates a recipe that colleges must follow in terms of inputs and processes, rather than focusing on outputs and outcomes.
- The recipe that accreditors require colleges to follow necessarily suppresses innovation in higher education.
- While there is widespread dissatisfaction with accreditation, there is (justifiably) little consensus regarding potential replacements.
- Escape hatches would allow programs with excellent learning or labor market outcomes to operate outside of the accreditation system, helping to unleash innovation in higher education.